Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Mar 30, 2012
    100
    That action is bloody, but Fiennes' choices as director are unassailably apt and artful. Coriolanus is a triumph.
  2. Reviewed by: Ray Bennett
    Dec 1, 2011
    100
    Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in Coriolanus as William Shakespeare's Rambo in a production that delivers heavyweight screen acting at its best.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 1, 2011
    100
    Fiennes' crackerjack Coriolanus stays true to the clever, almost mean-spirited twists and turns of the story, and preserves the authentic flavor and texture of the language.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Nov 29, 2011
    100
    In lesser hands, this could have easily been some seriously detestable John Wayne jingoism. But via Fiennes, the film is a spiky and complex counterweight to Hollywood sentiment and indie cynicism alike.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jan 18, 2012
    91
    As played by Ralph Fiennes in his own cinematic adaptation of the play, Coriolanus' military genius makes him a figure of awe, but it's his near-absence of empathy that makes him terrifying.
  6. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 7, 2011
    91
    With its warring factions, citizen uprisings, guerrilla insurgencies, political intrigue, bloody warfare, family tensions, and homoerotic subtext, Coriolanus is one of the year's best political thrillers.
  7. 90
    Fiennes and Logan haven't made a definitive Coriolanus, but they've made a sensationally gripping one. They have the pulse of the play, its firm martial beats and its messy political clatter. They tell a damn good story.
  8. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Mar 22, 2012
    88
    Coriolanus is not by any stretch a hero, and yet Fiennes makes him magnetic, a warrior you can't look away from even when you might want to.
  9. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 16, 2012
    88
    Brian Cox is especially good, and slippery, as Menenius, a Roman senator.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 16, 2012
    88
    Coriolanus leaves an acrid, unfinished taste. Fiennes, making his directorial debut, gets into the meat of the thing, and he takes advantage of the bluntness of the text; even Shakespeare newcomers will be able to follow along.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 2, 2012
    88
    You buy the concept, from start to finish, because it feels strong and purposeful and in sync with Shakespeare's own vision of a malleable, fickle populace and a leader raised by the ultimate stage mother.
  12. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 1, 2012
    88
    One of the pleasures of Fiennes' film is that the screenplay by John Logan ("Hugo," "Gladiator") makes room for as much of Shakespeare's language as possible. I would have enjoyed more, because such actors as Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox let the words roll trippingly off the tongue.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 19, 2012
    88
    Think "The Hurt Locker," which shares a cinematographer in Barry Ackroyd with no damage to the Bard's bruising poetry. Neat trick.
  14. Reviewed by: Kerry Lengel
    Mar 10, 2012
    80
    As a portrait of modern warfare, politics and propaganda, Coriolanus is intriguing, even if the gritty action sequences don't quite measure up to the realism of "The Hurt Locker."
  15. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 19, 2012
    80
    It finds a way to make the play's rich, dense literary language (just before the climactic battle, one character accuses another of "breaking his oath and resolution like/A twist of rotten silk") sound as terse and urgent as the dialogue in a tightly plotted action thriller.
  16. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 19, 2012
    80
    Martius comes to a bad end, while Mr. Fiennes achieves a great beginning. As a director, his grasp exceeds his daring reach, and his performance stands as a chilling exemplar of psychomartial ferocity.
  17. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Jan 16, 2012
    80
    Exciting, ironic, with assured direction, accomplished performances and the tension of topical themes, this is Shakespeare as relevant as you like it.
  18. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 1, 2011
    80
    If you give yourself over to that clash of style and sensibility, something magical happens as the power, the prescience and the precision of Shakespeare's words take hold of modern problems.
  19. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 1, 2011
    80
    Then too there's the sheer pleasure of hearing these words spoken by an actor like Mr. Fiennes, whose phrasing is so brilliant, you might be tempted to close your eyes if his physical performance weren't equally mesmerizing.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 1, 2011
    80
    Here, in his best performance since "Spider," Fiennes plays the snarling, entitled general Caius Martius Coriolanus, whose bloody brow and bald head are stained with what's left of his soldiers.
  21. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Nov 29, 2011
    80
    In the case of Ralph Fiennes's adaptation of Coriolanus - the transposition to present day is confusing and counterproductive, dulling the impact of an otherwise fierce, often unbearably immediate production.
  22. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Feb 29, 2012
    78
    Immensely entertaining, Coriolanus is chock-full o' gore and the contemporary trappings of a man and a land divided, both from without and from within.
  23. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 2, 2012
    75
    Fiennes thrives under his own direction, but such is his sense of balance that everyone else thrives, too.
  24. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jan 19, 2012
    75
    It's a film of vigorous performances and provocative modern resonances, though it sometimes struggles to grapple with a grim, politically ambiguous, 400-year-old play.
  25. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 12, 2012
    75
    Coriolanus deserves to be seen, however, especially among those who enjoy Shakespeare without considering themselves purists. It's violent, bloody, fast-paced, and powerfully acted. And, if the language represents a barrier of sorts, it's worth remembering that some of the greatest phrases in history derive from Shakespeare's texts.
  26. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jan 16, 2012
    70
    It is the most oppressive of the great tragedies, and "Macbeth" aside, the leanest, and the task that Fiennes has set himself is to liberate it from the theatrical while preserving the dramatic bite. In that, he succeeds with brio. [23 Jan. 2012, p.86]
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 20, 2012
    67
    The greatest performance, though, is Vanessa Redgrave's as Martius's blood-lusting mother, Volumnia. It's an extraordinarily powerful piece of acting, all controlled rage. When, in the end, that rage erupts, her vehemence splits the screen.
  28. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 1, 2011
    65
    Fiennes works hard to keep the rhythm going: He stages hand-to-hand combat sequences and knife fights as if he were making a smart action movie, not adapting Shakespeare, which is precisely the point.
  29. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 1, 2011
    63
    Vanessa Redgrave nimbly plays Coriolanus' mother, Volumnia, a blend of formidable stage mother and a puppeteering power behind the throne.
  30. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Nov 28, 2011
    63
    Though his film's feel is pure Iraq and Afghanistan, Fiennes doesn't push those parallels unduly, and his central performances prove clear, nuanced, and incisive.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 11
  2. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. Mar 17, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. To be honest I struggled with the dialogue and it really killed my experience of this one. Wished they had gone all the way with turning this in to a contemporary take on the original material with the script too so the more average minded peeps like myself could get a better understanding of the drama unfolding.

    There were some interesting things going on, I really wanted to get some insight into the whole drama of a man turning on his own country and family and it seemed like the film might have drawn some interesting parallels to modern events but unfortunately I couldn't figure out much of it.

    Performances seemed strong and great visuals too.

    Definitely one best left to the Shakespeare types to figure out though.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 26, 2014
    3
    Oh the missed opportunity. It cuts me deep. Great visuals and direction from Ralph Fiennes in his directorial debut. The modern day adaptation of Shakepeare's play was a very creative way to change it up. The difference in setting when we see Apple Computers in one shot and then we see this very 1500s/1600s set pieces outside was a very interesting choice that I enjoyed. The action sequences were intense and the thrills were certainly there. In spite of knowing that this is a tragedy, you still get attached to the characters even though you know there is no other way for this one to wind up. Impressive on those fronts for sure.

    Now, the negatives. There are, admittedly, not many, but they are major enough to knock this down all the way to such a low rating for me. The major negative here is the dialogue. You can kind of piece together what is going on, for sure, but the Shakespearean language made this one a pain to watch. Very intense scenes could have been all the more intense if I understood what they were saying. The fact that they were intense at all speaks to Fiennes' talent in the director's chair, but his failure to realize that Shakespearean language is very hard to understand and does not really translate well to film is a major redmark on this debut. In addition, aside from Fiennes, the acting was incredibly spotty. In too many scenes, it felt forced and as if I was watching a bad play. I am sure the language used played a role in this feeling, but the acting was anything but up to snuff. With such a capable cast of actors, I expected much more, but was instead left disappointed as I never really "bought" a lot of it, as it was painfully obvious they were acting.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 20, 2013
    4
    Did the people who made this film know the differences between cinema and theater? I think not. That's why the characters speak as if they are on stage and the city of modern Rome has a population of one hundred people and an army of thirty. Moreover, why didn't they place the story in antiquity? Their 'modern Rome' is just an average city of today with dysfunctional institutions. Fiennes' powerful performance and Shakespeare's finely crafted story depicting the destructive consequences of human pride and jealousy and the ingratitude of the people are wasted here.
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